Andover Theological Seminary

Andover Theological Seminary

Andover Theological Seminary, now part of Andover Newton Theological School, is the oldest graduate school of theology in the United States. Andover Theological Seminary and Newton Theological Institution merged formally in 1965 to form the Andover Newton Theological School.


Andover Theological Seminary, the oldest graduate school of theology in the United States, traces its roots to the late 18th century and the desire for a well-educated clergy among Congregationalists. That desire was expressed in the founding of Phillips Academy in 1778 for "the promotion of true Piety and Virtue."

In 1806, a growing split within the Congregational churches, known as the “Unitarian Controversy,” came to a full boil on the campus of Harvard College. The appointment of the Hollis Professorship of Divinity at Harvard had been put off for many years because of tensions between liberals and the more orthodox Calvinists. This theological battle soon divided many of the oldest churches in Massachusetts and began to impact church polity and the hiring of ministers. Then when the Harvard Overseers appointed a well known liberal, Henry Ware, to the Hollis Chair in 1805 the Calvinists withdrew to organize and found a new school, Andover Theological Seminary, in 1807. This act, covered widely in the national press, was one of the significant events that contributed to the split in the denominations and to the eventual founding of the American Unitarian Association in 1825 (which joined the Universalists, founded in 1793, to become the Unitarian Universalist Association in 1961).

Newton Theological Institution began instruction in 1825 at Newton Centre, Massachusetts as a graduate seminary formally affiliated with the group now known as American Baptist Churches USA, the oldest Baptist denomination in America. As the institution developed, it adopted Andover's curricular pattern and shared the same theological tradition of loyalty to the evangelical Gospel and zeal for its dissemination.

Prior to the founding of Andover and Newton, the model for the training of clergy was based on an undergraduate degree (actually the basis for the founding of most of the early colleges in the United States). The graduate model and the three year curriculum with a resident student body and resident faculty pioneered at Andover and Newton has become the standard for almost all of the 140 Protestant theological schools in the country.

Reflecting that zeal, the modern missionary movement began in this country through a group of Andover students known as the Brethren. Both Andover and Newton quickly assumed leadership in the modern mission movement, drawing the two schools into close association of people and ideas.Graduates such as Luther Rice and Hiram Bingham pioneered in Christian missions around the world. Adoniram Judson, an 1810 Andover alumnus, is best known for his work in Burma, where he translated the Bible into Burmese and produced the first Burmese-English dictionary.

In 1908, Harvard Divinity School and Andover attempted to reconcile and for a period of 18 years shared the Cambridge, Massachusetts, campus. The seminary moved its faculty and library to Cambridge and began to develop plans for a formal affiliation with Harvard. However, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts disallowed the alliance, which resulted in Andover’s relocating to the campus of Newton Theological Institution in 1931.

After sharing the Newton Theological Institution campus starting in 1931, Andover Theological Seminary and Newton Theological Institution merged formally in 1965 to form the Andover Newton Theological School.

For current information about Andover Newton Theological School, see Andover Newton Theological School.

Notable alumni

Alumni of Andover Theological Seminary include the following notables, listed in order of their last year at the Seminary.

* Adoniram Judson, class of 1810, one of the first U.S. missionaries sent by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions; later became a Baptist missionary to Myanmar, then known as Burma.
* David Oliver Allen, class of 1824, American missionary.
* Nehemiah Adams, class of 1829, clergyman and author.
* Bela Bates Edwards, class of 1830, Andover Theological Seminary faculty, 1837-1852; editor of "American Quarterly Observer", "Biblical Repository", and "Bibliotheca Sacra".
* William Adams, class of 1830, one of the founders of the Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York and later its president.
* Caleb Mills, class of 1833, first professor of Wabash College and father of the Indiana public education system. [cite book | last = Osborne | first = James Insley | coauthors = Theodore Gregory Gronert | title = Wabash College: The First Hundred Years, 1832-1932 | publisher = R. E. Banta | location = Crawfordsville, Indiana | date = 1932 | pages = 31]
* Samuel Francis Smith, class of 1834, Baptist minister who wrote the words to My Country, 'Tis of Thee while a seminary student.
* George Frederick Magoun, class of 1847, co-founder and first president of Grinnell CollegeGrinnell College Libraries. [ Presidents of Grinnell College: George Magoun] . Accessed May 10, 2008.]
* George Park Fisher, class of 1851, ecclesiastical historian, president of the American Historical Association in 1898
* Charles Augustus Aiken, class of 1853, Faculty at Dartmouth College and Princeton Theological Seminary; president of Union College. cite book
title = Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607-1896
publisher = Marquis Who's Who
location = Chicago
date = 1963
* Joseph Hardy Neesima, attended 1870-72, 1873-74, but did not graduate. Founder and president of Doshisha University in Japan.
* William Jewett Tucker, class of 1866, Andover Theological Seminary faculty, 1879-1893; editor of "Andover Review"; founder of Andover House; president of Dartmouth College.
*Albert Edward Winship, educator
*Rev. Claude Black, class of 1943, Noted Pastor of Mt. Zion First Baptist Church, civil rights icon, politician.

External links

* [ Andover Newton Theological School]
* [ Andover-Harvard Library History]


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